Russia’s Kurchatov Research Center Develops Power Unit for Lunar Base

The Kurchatov Institute National Research Center has obtained a patent for the system capable of converting thermal energy into electric power, including for a lunar base, according to the invention’s description released by the Federal Institute of Industrial Property on Tuesday, TASS informed.

“The stated invention deals with the technical problem of providing the necessary power and energy for an autonomous life support system for equipment and personnel in the extreme conditions of a lunar base’s environment,” the description runs.

The system will consist of two closed loops. One of them includes a solar collector, a hot junction heat exchanger and a circulating pump. The sunlight will fall on the collector and the heat will pass into the heat exchanger through the pipeline of the hot liquid metal circuit and come back for heating with the pump’s help.

The second loop, on the contrary, will withdraw the heat with the help of a cold junction heat exchanger, which is connected with a radiant cooler through the pipeline.

Energy will be generated in the thermoelectric converter through a large difference in the temperatures.

“The autonomous space energy unit will generate the energy required for the lunar station’s operation during a lunar day and accumulate its surplus for work during a lunar night,” the invention’s description specifies.

Energy can be stored in classical storage cells, super capacitors or mechanical energy accumulation systems.

The Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIIMash), which is the lead research organization of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos, unveiled the concept of the country’s lunar exploration program at the 2019 Le Bourget air show.

As the TsNIIMash materials indicate, the first landing on the Earth’s natural satellite is planned for 2030. Cosmonauts will carry out “experiments on the surface and applied research.” During this period, automated space ships will also be operating on the Moon’s surface.

After that, regular missions to the Moon are planned along with the deployment of a permanent lunar base. The basic stage is scheduled for 2032 – 2035. The permanent base is planned to be deployed precisely by 2035.

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